access and policies

Access Policy

The ACT Archives and Special Collections are open to the public, and freely accessible. ACT welcomes and encourages requests from anyone within or outside the MIT community.

In-person access: Research appointments

The collection may be examined by arranging a research appointment in advance by contacting the ACT Archivist by email or phone. ACT generally does not accept walk-in research patrons, although requests may be made in person at the Archivist’s office (E15-222). ACT recommends arranging appointments at least three weeks in advance in order to ensure availability. ACT reserves the right to cancel research appointments at any time. Appointment scheduling is subject to institute holidays and closings.


The collection space is located at:

20 Ames Street

Building E15-235

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139



In-person access: Space policies

  • The Archivist or an authorized ACT staff member must attend researchers at all times.
  • No pens, markers, or adhesives (e.g. “Post-it” notes) are permitted in the collection space; pencils will be provided upon request.
  • No food or beverages are permitted in the collection space.
  • Laptop use is permitted in the collection space, as well as digital cameras and cellphones. Unless otherwise authorized, any equipment in the collection space (including but not limited to computers, telephones, scanners, and viewing equipment) is for use by ACT staff members only.
  • Photocopying machines in the ACT hallway will be accessible by patrons under the supervision of the Archivist.
  • Patrons may only browse materials that have been made available for access.


Remote access: Reference requests

For patrons who are unable to arrange for an on-campus visit to the Archives and Special Collections, reference questions may be directed to the Archivist remotely by email or phone. Generally, emails and phone calls will receive a response within 72 hours of receipt. Requests are typically filled in the order they are received.

Use of patron information

Patrons requesting collection materials in person or remotely may be asked to provide certain information to the Archivist, such as contact information and topic(s) of research. This information is only used to track requests for statistical evaluations of collection use and will not be disclosed to outside organizations for any purpose. ACT will endeavor to protect the privacy of all patrons accessing collections.



ACT reserves the right to charge an hourly rate for requests that require more than three hours of research on behalf of a patron (remote requests). Collection materials may be scanned and made available upon request, but digitization of certain materials may incur costs. Additionally, requests to publish, exhibit, or otherwise reproduce and display collection materials may incur use fees.

Use of MIT-owned materials by patrons

Permission to examine collection materials in person or remotely (by receiving transfers of digitized materials) does not imply or grant permission to publish or exhibit those materials. Permission to publish, exhibit, or otherwise use collection materials is granted on a case by case basis in accordance with MIT policy, restrictions that may have been placed on materials by donors or depositors, and copyright law. To request permission to publish, exhibit, or otherwise use collection materials, contact the Archivist. When permission is granted by MIT, patrons must comply with all guidelines provided by ACT for citations, credits, and copyright statements. Exclusive rights to examine or publish material will not be granted.